Return to Transcripts main page
ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Casey Anthony`s Judge Calls for Judge to Step Down; Grandmother Implicates Relatives in Haleigh Cummings Case
Aired April 16, 2010 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, breaking news. Jaw- dropping developments in the desperate river search for little Haleigh Cummings. It`s now day four. Tonight, horrifying new revelations. Misty Croslin`s grandmother now reveals she told cops Tommy and Cousin Joe tied Haleigh to a cinderblock and threw his beautiful little girl into the river. Was this poor child alive when all of this allegedly happened? And if so, what on earth was the motive? Three theories emerge.
And shocking new twists in the war on women. We now have home video of Brittanee Drexel taken just 24 hours before she mysteriously vanished. This beautiful young woman smiling, laughing and texting. Now she`s gone. Who took her? Tonight, I`ll talk to Brittanee`s heart-broken, frustrated mother.
Plus, blood-boiling new details just released in the Ben Roethlisberger sexual assault scandal. We`re now learning the disgusting details of the alleged attack that police chose not to prosecute, claims that the NFL star exposed his penis before forcing himself on a drunk young woman inside a college bar.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to get to the latest on the search for Haleigh Cummings in a moment. But first, extraordinary breaking news just in tonight. We`ve got the court documents in another heart-breaking child murder case. A bombshell -- and I mean a bombshell -- coming out of the Casey Anthony murder case. Her defense team wants the presiding judge thrown off the case.
Published reports say Jose Baez has filed a motion, and in fact, we`ve got it right here, requesting that judge Stan Strickland recuse himself, meaning step down.
Casey Anthony, of course, is charged with killing her beautiful 2- year-old girl, Caylee. Caylee`s remains were found near the family home December 11, 2008. Casey`s trial is not set to begin until sometime next year, but now her attorney, Jose Baez, says the judge who has been presiding over the case all along should be removed. Why?
Baez in this motion that was just filed late Friday as the court was closing for the week says Judge Strickland has been aligning himself with an anti-Casey blogger on the Internet, which is absolutely extraordinary.
Straight out to my fantastic panel: family law attorney Kim Picazio and HLN`s law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks. But we begin with Beth Karas of "In Session," our sister network.
Beth, what do you know about these shocking new documents?
BETH KARAS, "IN SESSION" (via phone): They are going to be able to show that Judge Strickland has this relationship with a blogger and was concerned enough to call him when he learned he was ill to wish him well, then that may be enough to create an appearance of an impropriety or a conflict that the judge should step aside.
KARAS: Judge Strickland -- it`s one thing to read the blogs, Jane, but to actually engage in it may be another story.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, this blog, which was sent as an attachment to the lawsuit or the motion that they filed, I should say, on this blog it says, "Casey Anthony must die."
And now in an affidavit that was attached to this court filing, an investigator for the Casey Anthony defense team goes and talks to this guy known as Marinade Dave, who hosts this Web site and gets Marinade Dave talking. And Marinade Dave says that he talked to Judge Strickland and says that Judge Strickland told him -- and we`re just reading this as it comes in -- "You`ve got the best blog going out there. You`ve got the best one. Really fair, you know."
And then Marinade Dave proceeds to say, "So I was really honored by His Honor. From what I know, he`s just a really nice, fair guy. And some of the lawyers I have talked to about him say the same thing. He`s not going to be the one who has the final word, except for if she`s found guilty."
I mean, this is pretty extraordinary stuff if it is true, Mike Brooks.
MIKE BROOKS, LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That`s the whole thing, Jane. Is it true? Is this actually Judge Stan Strickland writing on this blog? Is this someone who is using his name? We don`t know. But I guarantee you there will be an investigation into this.
And, Jane, if it`s found to be Judge Strickland, do you know how much of a setback this will be to this case? Who knows when we`ll ever go to trial if it is him, in fact, writing on this blog.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And Kim Picazio, it`s not so much that he wrote on the blog. It`s that apparently he had a conversation, allegedly, with this Marinade Dave, who has said some pretty horrific things about Casey Anthony, and sort of compliments Marinade Dave.
Now, I want to tell you that we`re getting a response from the court, which says, "Neither I nor the judge have seen it. It may have been filed with the clerk, but a courtesy copy has not made its way to the judge yet." So no comment from the judge.
Again, this is just one side of the story. But how explosive is this, Kim Picazio, if there`s an investigation and they determine that the judge did have a conversation with this blogger?
KIM PICAZIO, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Well, if he did, I can tell you it might do it. It might qualify to disqualify the judge off the case. Under Florida law, pursuant to the judicial rules of administration, a judge in Florida is required -- now get the language -- required to recuse himself from a trial if the motion has a legally sufficient basis to do so. And legally sufficient has been defined to mean that the motion itself shows a good-faith belief that their person is not going a receive a fair trial.
So it`s a very low burden in Florida. It`s not what the judge may think. It`s actually just what the -- if it states something that is legally sufficient, if it says it on the piece on paper, then the judge is going to have to recuse himself.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Beth Karas, we have seen so many motions. You could fill an office building with the number of motions that have been filed in this case. But this was the one that set off alarm bells for me, because a judge has to be objective. And if they can point to a connection between a judge having a conversation with a blogger, who has said something like "Casey Anthony must die," I would say that`s game, set, match.
KARAS: You`re precisely right. I do believe there`s nothing wrong with this judge reading blogs. In fact, maybe it`s his duty. He is going to be deciding a change of venue motion, I do believe, down the road. And so he needs to know what the community is doing and saying about this case. That`s OK to read.
But to engage, to write or, more importantly, to actually pick up the phone and speak to a blogger, he may have crossed the line there, if it`s true.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So on a scale of one to ten, Beth, how big a development is this in the Casey Anthony case?
KARAS: It`s approaching a ten, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is a ten. Mike Brooks, do you agree?
MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I do agree. I do agree, Jane. You know, but, again, let`s not jump to any conclusions until there is an investigation into this.
Kim Picazio, last word. Is it approaching a ten?
PICAZIO: Absolutely. And a judge should never have ex parte or out- of-court communications with anyone in a case about a case that he`s hearing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Explosive developments in this case and another case. Thank you, fantastic guests.
We are moving on, next, with the Misty Croslin/Cummings clan catastrophe. The fiasco. And we are going to bring you all of the very latest on that, obviously, in just a moment. Explosive new developments in the search for Haleigh Cummings, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF JEFF HARDY, PUTNAM COUNTY, FLORIDA: At this point, I`m comfortable to go ahead and say that I`m going to call it a homicide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, pandemonium in the Haleigh Cummings case. Competing versions of Haleigh`s death are surfacing as police finally declare this case a homicide.
In an exclusive interview with HLN`s Nancy Grace, Misty Croslin`s grandmother shared graphic details implicating her two grandsons. One of them, Tommy Croslin, called her from jail on Sunday. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLORA HOLLARS, GRANDMOTHER OF MISTY CROSLIN: She said Joe Overstreet and Tommy wrapped the rope around Haleigh and carried her to the dock at the St. John`s River and put a block around the other end of the rope and throwed [SIC] her in the river.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely chilling. Divers searched the St. John`s River for three straight days. News 4, Jackson, reporting that divers dragged up two cinderblocks and sent them to a crime lab. Were those the blocks used to weigh little Haleigh down?
But wait. Grandma also has other theories about what happened to this precious child. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLLARS: I heard that she got a hold of one of Ron`s pills and swallowed it and OD`d on it. And then I heard that Misty supposedly hit her in the back of the head, and Joe supposedly raped her and then got rid of the body.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my dear. On Wednesday, police hauled Misty out of jail and brought her to the dock in handcuffs. Investigative reporter Art Harris says Misty was actively trying to help cops find the murder weapon. They were reportedly looking for a rope. Listen to what the sheriff said about Misty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARDY: I think she`s come to realize that, you know, she`s in trouble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to my fantastic expert panel, all top experts in the Haleigh Cummings case. We begin with investigative reporter Michelle Sigona.
Michelle, what is the very latest?
MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, at this point, Jane, investigators did find a good amount of evidence out at the scene. I can confirm that that evidence, which they`re not releasing the specifics of, has been sent out to labs. They`re waiting for the information from that to be able to come back to move forward with this investigation.
The sheriff did announce this week that there are persons of interest in this case. They are not going to come out and name any names at this point, but they do have their eyes on people.
As far as Misty Croslin is concerned, quote -- this is what Lieutenant Greenwood told me -- "She is cooperating with the investigation. Not that she necessarily knew what happened, but we wanted her to see the operation."
So that`s important that she is cooperating. She`s engaging the investigators. She`s coming forward with information. Because as you know and as the grandmother has stated, there`s been so many stories over the last -- more than a year, over the last 14 months on this particular case.
So that`s basically where we stand at this point. Lieutenant Greenwood also just told me that there`s no more searches planned on the St. John`s River for today or for this weekend, for that matter.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: When a child is killed, the motive is often to cover up sexual abuse. Listen to this clip from Nancy Grace`s exclusive interview with Misty`s grandmother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HLN ANCHOR: Could I ask you why they would have done that? Joe Overstreet and Tommy Croslin, why would they have done that? Had they allegedly molested Haleigh?
HOLLARS: That I don`t know.
GRACE: Why would they just throw her in the water?
HOLLARS: I don`t know. I know if I continue to talk to Misty, she`s going to tell me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: T.J. Ward, you administered layered voice analysis face-to-face to Misty Croslin. Names aside, did Misty ever make her own accusations of sexual abuse?
T.J. WARD, GAVE LIE DETECTOR TEST TO MISTY CROSLIN: No, she didn`t -- she told me that she was abused by Tommy and Joe at one time. And -- but it was not brought up about her molesting Haleigh Cummings.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, but you`re saying she did bring up these allegations of sexual abuse within the family. And, of course, we have no idea whether that -- this woman has proven to be a pathological liar, whether she`s just throwing her cousins under the bus. OK?
And we invite Tommy and Joe to come on the show at any time. Of course, Tommy is behind bars, so that would be a little hard for him to do, but his attorney to tell their side of the story. And we know that Joe has said that he is being set up by Misty, and he believes that everything that Misty is saying to point the finger at him is an attempt to frame him and that he`s completely innocent.
But still, it`s -- it`s a troubling development. Mike Brooks, try to put this into perspective for us.
BROOKS: Well, Jane, you know, what Sheriff Hardy said yesterday is that two of his investigators and two investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement went to Tennessee to talk to Cousin Joe Overstreet, who has retained counsel.
And in the words of Sheriff Hardy, Cousin Joe has now lawyered up, which means he`s shut his mouth and has quit talking. But do they have the probable cause on him now to arrest him? Or for Misty or for Tommy? Apparently not. But I think they`re putting their case together.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue. Are we witnessing a gigantic family feud? This Croslin/Cummings clan is a case study in family dysfunction. There are reports that Misty`s three-day drug binge leading up to the night Haleigh vanished. You`ve got the drug-trafficking charges against Ron, Misty and Tommy. You have Grandma Flo accusing her own flesh and blood of being involved with Haleigh`s disappearance. And you`ve got a whole bunch of other accusations that are very inflammatory, and it may all be a bunch of lies.
Isn`t it interesting that the woman may have cracked the case, this woman has the most to lose. Grandma Flo is implicating three of her own grandchildren, which is pretty darn extraordinary.
Levi Page, you interviewed Misty Croslin right before she went to jail. What do you like of this mixed-up family?
LEVI PAGE, INTERVIEWED MISTY CROSLIN: I think that it`s absolutely crazy. I think that the grandma is telling all sorts of wild stories. Nancy Grace asked her, for instance, "Where did you hear the story that Misty hit Haleigh over the head and then her body was disposed of in the water."
She said, "I can`t recall."
Wait a second. Somebody tells you that your granddaughter killed a little girl, and you can`t recall who told you that?
There`s so many details here that`s not making any sense. I don`t think that this woman has that much credibility.
And what is also interesting about this case is Tommy`s involvement. I`m not convinced that he`s directly involved in killing Haleigh. He might have helped dispose something. He might know something, because I remember during the summer, Tommy and Ronald had gotten into a series of fights and also the Croslin family had a dead rat, a decapitated rat put into their mailbox, Jane.
In my opinion, that was for intimidation. A neighbor says that they have seen Misty and Ron put that rat in the mailbox. I think that that was intimidation to "Shut your mouth. You know something. We don`t want you talking." And I think that this is a big mess.
BROOKS: Jane, that -- the fight that Levi is talking about between Tommy and Ronald Cummings was allegedly over this gun that we`ve heard that Tommy and Cousin Joe went over that night to look for and they couldn`t find it. And that`s when they allegedly took Haleigh. So...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, who takes a child when you can`t find a gun?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It doesn`t make sense to me.
BROOKS: It doesn`t.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You might smash the place up or say, "Where`s the darn gun?" But you don`t take a child and abduct her and murder her because you couldn`t find a prized gun that Ron had. It doesn`t make any sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: None of this does.
SIGONA: We also have to take into consideration that -- if drugs were involved.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Say that again, Michelle.
SIGONA: I was just saying that we have to take into consideration -- I mean, if they are a part of some sort of drug operation, and if they were taking drugs at that time, that drugs do make you do things.
SIGONA: I`m not saying that that`s the case, but I`m just saying that, if drugs were involved.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve heard that she was on a three-day drug binge...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... leading up to this, so that would be not a crazy assumption.
BROOKS: No. And you just -- and you just don`t get into the drug sales business, either.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stay right where you are. On the other side, more on this. It`s just unbelievable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLLARS: He was sort of crying when he started talking to me. He says, "Nanny, I don`t think I can hold this any longer."
And that`s when I -- I mean, I cut down on him, and I cut down on him hard, and that`s when he started running his mouth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: People running their mouths about what happened the night Haleigh Cummings vanished. Misty Croslin`s grandma -- you just heard her -- says her two grandsons tied a weighted rope to little Haleigh and dumped her in the river.
And now we find, according to published reports, Mike Brooks, that two cinderblocks have been pulled from the water, the obvious connection, and the question is are those the blocks that were used to allegedly weigh little Haleigh -- Haleigh down?
BROOKS: That`s a good question, Jane. And I`m thinking after this much time, if, in fact, these were the blocks that were used to allegedly weigh down little Haleigh`s body, they would be looking for any kind of fiber, whether it be plastic from this alleged rope that they were possibly tied to.
And keep in mind the other thing. There were anthropologists there on the scene. And what does that mean? That means that they were looking for pieces of bone. And the -- the initial reports of this cooler, that was actually, Jane, a sifter, if you will, because the bottom of the St. John`s River is very silty. Almost zero visibility. And they were going through by hand and sifting the water, sifting the sand and the silt at the bottom of this river, looking for anything of evidentiary value.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kim Picazio, you used to represent Haleigh`s mother. Why are you no longer involved in the case?
PICAZIO: Well, my client and I had a falling out, which was very publicized. And at this point, I`m no longer representing her. But I have been following the case, so to speak. And -- and I am very concerned about the latest news that suggest a tragic ending. We`ve waited very long for information. And at least now, hopefully, the family will have some answers, albeit not the answers that they wanted.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you believe this scenario? Do you believe...
PICAZIO: I can`t -- well, I can`t say yes. I think that the Croslins since the very beginning of the case -- that`s early in March -- had told law enforcement and my people details of their allegations about Joe Overstreet being involved. We had heard from the sister, describing how, in the middle of the night, she woke up when Joe Overstreet was not there, when he was supposedly staying at their home.
Then when they received the phone call at 3:30 at night from the rest of the family, saying that Haleigh was missing, that Joe Overstreet was there, but just took his shoes off as if he had just come in the door and was very surprised by the phone call. We have intimate details.
Tommy himself went through the swamps with one of my investigators for three days. And what`s very coincidental is Tommy never brought one of my investigators to the place where I see on TV.
BROOKS: But Kim...
PICAZIO: He was in...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did Cousin Joe ever say anything about this van that they were allegedly looking for, this 1990s Chrysler van, I think it was, that was supposed to have been in that area? Have you ever heard anything in reference to that at all?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, 30 seconds. Kim?
PICAZIO: Well, we know that there was the van that was owned by the Croslin family. Allegedly, Joe had used that van. The keys were left on the counter so there was easy access. The van did have a scratch on the side the next day. FDLE took the van into custody, did forensic examination.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got it. We`ve got to leave it there. But once again, Joe Overstreet has said that he has nothing to do with this. We want to be fair. He has not been charged with anything at this point.
We`re staying on top of this story. Fantastic panel, thank you.
New video just released shows Brittanee Drexel hours before she mysteriously vanished. Tonight, we`re going to talk to Brittanee`s desperate, frustrated mother. What can cops learn from the new videotape?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got breaking news, more breaking news just in to ISSUES. The sicko sex offender accused of brutally murdering Amber Dubois and Chelsea King has now just pleaded guilty to both murders. John Gardner, you`re looking at him here, admitted killing the two teenage girls. He reportedly did that in order to avoid the death penalty.
Let`s give you a little refresher on this case. Chelsea King -- beautiful girl -- brutally murdered while jogging in a San Diego park back in February. The discovery of Chelsea`s body led police to the gruesome discovery of Amber Dubois. The 14-year-old had been missing for a year.
Gardner has no possibility of parole and he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Mike Brooks, CNN law enforcement analyst, this is a horror story because this guy had been in prison behind bars locked up and he was let out after only five years despite molesting and punching a young girl. That`s why he was free to kill.
MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Exactly, Jane. And it didn`t take too much investigation to put these two cases together.
I was also hearing that they had a lot of evidence against this guy, but he`s doing it to save his own butt. So he wouldn`t be in San Quentin with Mr. Peterson. So, you know, yes, this is a good move for him. But would I like to have seen him get the death penalty? Well, we`ll talk about that another day.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I would have liked to have seen parole officers yank his parole and put him back in prison when he violated parole repeatedly after being released after only five years for molesting and beating a young girl.
BROOKS: It was just crazy, Jane. There was no reason, no reason whatsoever he should have been on the street. She was let down by the system, if you will.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Both of these girls were. This guy shouldn`t have been on the street to be able to kill these precious young women.
We`re going to stay on top of that story.
We also have fast-breaking developments in the search for a beautiful teenager who disappeared on spring break in Myrtle Beach more than a year ago. We now have new video from the show "Disappeared" on Investigation Discovery Network.
It shows Brittanee Drexel the very day before she vanished.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Brit.
BRITTANEE DREXEL, MISSING GIRL: What?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Boy, there she is. The male voice and camera operator is somebody she met on vacation. Police do not consider him a suspect.
Brittanee defied her mom and went to Myrtle Beach with her friends even though she was not allowed to go. And now police are looking for three or four mystery persons of interest. They won`t name names.
On NBC`s "Today Show", Brittanee`s devastated mom offered her theory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAWN DREXEL, MOTHER OF BRITTANEE DREXEL: There`s only three possibilities that I think would have happened to Brittanee. She is either being held against her will, she`s been trafficked or she`s not alive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are honored to be joined by Brittanee`s mother Dawn Drexel now and also Monica Caison who founded the Cue Center for Missing Persons.
Dawn, first of all, I want to thank you for coming on the show. We have been covering your daughter`s disappearance since it first occurred and our hearts go out to you. We here at ISSUES want to help you solve this case. And preferably bring your daughter home safe and sound.
When did you see this new video of your daughter the day before she disappeared? And what was your reaction in your heart?
D. DREXEL: Thanks, Jane.
We viewed that video -- I believe it was two to three weeks after Brittanee had went missing. The police did show us the video. I didn`t think that Brittanee -- I don`t know -- would just go with some random person. But maybe she was walking alone and, you know, she decided to walk along with -- with this person. I mean, I`m not sure.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You might not recognize Brittanee, but Brittanee was captured by several surveillance cameras on the night she vanished.
Now, we`ll show you a shot of Brittanee walking about a mile from her hotel to a hotel where a friend was staying. This was on April 25th, the very day that she vanished; extraordinary amount of video in this case.
Then we have her walking into the Blue Water Resort on Ocean Boulevard. She went there to see a male friend who was staying there with four other teenagers. And then we see Brittanee leaving a short time later at about 8:30 p.m. And that`s really the last time she`s seen.
Police interviewed each of the young men she visited and none of them are suspects.
Dawn, names aside, what do you know about the young men who were staying at this hotel that she visited?
Brittanee did know the one person that was -- that last seen her. She had known him for a few years. I`ve heard his name before. I believe I met him at some point during that time. And the other boys, I don`t know if she knew them or not.
Now, Dawn, what have cops told you about these four persons of interest? Apparently they`re not the young men who were in that hotel room that she visited and then left. It`s somebody that she encountered after leaving that hotel room around 8:30 that night. And apparently aren`t they from that area, the area where she was at, Myrtle Beach?
D. DREXEL: You mean are the --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The three or four persons of interest that cops have their eye on.
D. DREXEL: I believe they are from South Carolina. I`m sorry. I forgot the question that you asked me prior to that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what do you know about them? Police have three or four persons of interest on their radar. Two of the suspects have been put through polygraphs.
D. DREXEL: That`s right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We don`t know the results. But what do you know about these four individuals? They`ve got -- cops have got their eye on four people.
D. DREXEL: Right. They haven`t told us much. We will be traveling to Myrtle Beach. We are going to be meeting with the police when we get down there next week. We are going down there for Brittanee`s candlelit vigil and also for awareness.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask Monica Caison a question. You are the founder of the Cue Center for Missing Persons. Police have indicated they believe Brittanee is dead.
I know that Brittanee`s mom, Dawn, who`s sitting right next to you is very upset by that. Did that rob her even of hope at this point?
MONICA CAISON, FOUNDER, CUE CENTER FOR MISSING PERSONS: I think on the onset of hearing the news that, you know, I think that whole entire family was devastated. And, you know, of course, she was receiving lots of calls and a lot of people that, you know, it was the first time of them ever hearing that.
Dawn had discussed with investigators prior. You know, they shared their beliefs. So she has heard that before, but never in a public forum.
And, you know, I think she`s settling down a little bit. Her and the family, they`re coming to some kind of terms. But as far as robbing them of hope, I mean that`s why we`re out here continuing to get Brittanee out there and to let people know, don`t stop looking for her because none of us really know.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Monica, do you find it odd that we know that there were four persons of interest but we don`t know anything else about them except that they`re from South Carolina? I mean --
CAISON: Very odd. And so that`s what we`re hoping when Dawn and Chad get down, Brittanee`s parents, get down to South Carolina. They will be meeting with law enforcement to discuss and hopefully get some more questions and make them feel a little bit better that, you know, get some answers for those questions and make them feel a little bit better.
But, yes, to make an announcement, you know, it kind of puts the pressure on -- everybody is asking Dawn and the family and Chad when are they going to make an arrest? Who are the people? It`s just caused a lot of extra stress upon their daughter being missing to try to answer these questions over and over again.
And I can tell you, I can attest to it because we`re receiving the same kind of calls. Even from other families of missing people. And, you know, Dawn and I spend a lot of time together on the phone and constantly being interrupted by people calling and just frantic, wanting some kind of word and she doesn`t have it to give.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dawn, as Brittanee`s mom, you must be pleased in some sense that they have at least their sights on four persons of interest because I think many parents of missing children have said the worst thing is not knowing anything, when there is no suspect, like the case of the Kesses which we`ve covered so many times here on ISSUES.
Would that at least -- if they arrested four individuals, would that give you some measure of closure?
D. DREXEL: It would. It would. You know, I support the investigation that they`re doing right now. But I still want to remain hopeful that Brittanee is still alive.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course you do. And we all are hopeful that perhaps she is still alive. There`s a possibility of sex trafficking, who knows.
D. DREXEL: Exactly.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have not gotten to the bottom of this story. Dawn, our thoughts are with you. Our hearts go out with you, to you. We`ll stay on this case. Thank you.
D. DREXEL: Thank you so much.
CAISON: Thank you, Jane.
Well, when we come back, disgusting new allegations in the Ben Roethlisberger sexual assault case. What really happened inside that college bar? Why didn`t police prosecute this NFL quarterback?
Stunning new information just out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our department (INAUDIBLE) the accuser. I`m not going to go into what her credibility is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he submit to a blood alcohol test or something?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a slew of head-spinning revelations in the Ben Roethlisberger sex scandal. Just hours ago, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation released a colossal report that exposes shocking and lurid -- and I mean lurid -- new claims. One of them that the superstar Steelers quarterback exposed himself to the 20-year-old accuser right before the alleged sexual assault in a nightclub bathroom.
She said that Ben approached her, quote, "With his penis out of his pants", end quote. A friend of the accuser says the young woman had been, quote, "dragged by a bodyguard to the back room" and that accuser was quote, "extremely intoxicated and not aware of what was happening". After the alleged incident, the young accuser went outside and told a cop who then talked to Roethlisberger.
That police officer, Sergeant Jerry Blatche, seen here with Ben in a photograph taken just hours earlier, earlier has suddenly resigned. TMZ reports he was given a loose offer: resign or be fired. According to TMZ he made a comment similar to this, quote, "This bleeping bitch is drunk" end quote.
What a lovely story. Police have not given an official reason for the officer`s resignation, but -- duh. Prosecutors say Ben will not face criminal charges, but will he be slapped with a civil suit? And how will the NFL handle the disgraced gridiron great? Ben has his own vision for the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN ROETHLISBERGER, NFL PLAYER: I absolutely want to be the leader this team deserves, valued in the community and a role model to kids. I have much work to do to earn this trust.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to my fantastic panel, Steve DeOssie, former NFL linebacker. And we`re delighted to have as well, Lisa Guerrero, special correspondent for "Inside Edition" and noted sports reporter.
Lisa, the accuser chose not to go forward with the prosecution and that was because the scandal would be eventually so public as we`re seeing now. Do you think in light of the 572 pages of police documents that have just been released, Roethlisberger essentially got a free pass?
LISA GUERRERO, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Yes, I think so. You know, I think the more we hear about this story and the more of these disturbing details that come out every day, I think everybody including Pittsburgh Steeler fans are becoming more and more disgusted with Ben Roethlisberger.
You know, how do you behave like this a year after being accused of raping somebody in Lake Tahoe? You know, this guy has been through, you know, other brushes with the law. You would think that he would keep his private parts in his pants and not be chasing after drunk girls in college bars.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Another shocker from the GBI document that cops got a tip about a completely different woman in her early 20s. The tipster claims -- and these are claims -- that Roethlisberger made unwelcome sexual advances twice on one occasion. The woman was at Ben`s house because she was the designated driver. She reportedly said he wouldn`t leave her alone and that he pulled down his pants and told her she could do whatever she wanted.
A second time at the home, she says they ended up in his bedroom. According to tipster, he was forceful. That woman has refused to speak to the cops.
And we have to point out that we would love Ben Roethlisberger`s response to that allegation that`s in police documents. But we do know that Roethlisberger is also facing a civil suit in another case.
A woman named Andrea McNulty claims he forced sex on her in 2008 in the Lake Tahoe hotel room. He again says this is completely untrue, denies it.
But, Steve Deossie, is there a pattern here?
STEVE DEOSSIE, FORMERLY NFL LINEBACKER: Well, the absolute best thing you can say about Ben Roethlisberger, even the most ardent Steelers or Big Ben fan is that he is incredibly bad at making decisions. And that`s -- that`s the best that you can say about him. He`s let his teammates down, he`s put himself in situations not only to hurt young women, but to hurt his family, his teammates, everybody.
There`s -- he`s making -- the biggest thing right now, is he`s got to -- he`s got to stop drinking. He`s got to stop going to these places where he knows these types of things are going to happen. He`s at an age now where he`s got to understand where he is in life and what he`s thinking.
Right now he`s off the charts stupid.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- that this is all about him learning some sweet lesson so that he can mature as a human being. I think this has to be about justice.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, he has not been charged with anything. And the authorities are saying they don`t have enough to charge him with anything.
But that very fact has generated outrage from our viewers. Check out this viewer e-mail. And keep in mind the writer is being a tad sarcastic.
Here`s her quote in a question, "If a person was so drunk that they needed an escort to the restroom, then how could a decent gentleman assume that she was coherent enough to decide if she wanted to have sex? Isn`t that what they make roofies for? To get a woman so blotto that she can`t say no or even remember if she did?"
Again, Lisa Guerrero, according to that GBI document just released, a friend of the accuser said that she, quote, "came out of the back room and told another friend that he, Roethlisberger, had sex with her without her consent", end quote.
So my big issue is: was this woman too drunk to say no? Was she too drunk to be able to give informed consent to anything?
GUERRERO: Well, a couple of -- there`s a couple of really disturbing things.
First of all, the young lady is 20 years old. So was she even old enough to be drinking at that bar? And if -- does the bar bear any responsibility at all to what happened that night?
The other thing, Jane, that`s disturbing is Ben seems to have surrounded himself with these yes men, this entourage of guys that seem to be enabling him over and over again. What does he need bodyguards for?
And, again, even the police, this particular person was taking pictures with him. He`s just surrounded by these dudes that think because he`s a big football star he`s held unaccountable, even when it comes to a potential rape.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Steve, what do you think the NFL and/or the Steelers should do with this guy? What are the potential penalties?
DEOSSIE: Well, what they should do and what they`re going to do might be two different things. What they should do by all means is suspend him and they`ve had a history of being able to suspend guys without charges being pressed against them.
If the NFL comes out on one hand and says we want to have a league full of role models, a clean league, a league that`s in touch with what`s going on in America right now, they need to step up and make a move right now and if not the NFL in particular, definitely the Steelers and the Rooney family.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, because --
GUERRRERO: The fans should do something --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody, stay right where you are. More analysis in just a moment.
Disgusting new allegations in 572 pages of a police report. Why didn`t cops prosecute Ben Roethlisberger?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRY BRADSHAW, FORMER STEELERS QUARTERBACK: He has got to realize who he is. He is an elite athlete in the National Football League. He is under a magnificent spotlight. And he has got to be careful about what he does in the off-season.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that is another football great talking about the Ben Roethlisberger scandal. As more information comes from a colossal 572- page GBI report.
A friend of the accuser says at that club that night Ben was buying shots for many of the girls. She says she saw a bodyguard bring the accuser into a back room and saw Ben follow her in. She then said that another friend tried to open the door, but it was locked. And then, quote, "One of the body guards kicked her out."
This is all about the bathroom incident. Was it a sexual assault or not? Police say they don`t have enough information to file charges.
But Lisa Guerrero, NFL policy is not just about avoiding criminal acts. It`s about behaving responsibly, is it not?
GUERRERO: It is. And I think every athlete, not just in the NFL but in every sport, needs to realize that once you put on the jersey that says the name of your community you are a representative for that community. You do represent that team, that league, that city, and you are a role model whether or not you would like to believe it.
Once you sign that contract, you do and you should be held responsible for your actions because you are a representative of that team. And if I were a Pittsburgh Steeler fan right now, I`d be outraged but I`d let my money do the talking.
I would say to that team -- and believe me the owners read their mail, they get on the blogs, they read comments. If I was a local there, I would say, "Look, I`m not going to go to a Steelers game until they assure me that he is not going to be the starting quarterback for this team."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Steve DeOssie, you were an NFL player. Let`s forget about the criminality for a second and just talk about the reported behavior. Roethlisberger in a VIP area -- this is according to the police report -- with 10 to 15 girls, just him and these 10 to 15 girls. And he allegedly says, according to witnesses, quote, "All my bitches, take some shots," end quote.
And the report claims Roethlisberger`s bodyguards were deleting photos from everybody`s cell phones that showed Roethlisberger drinking.
DEOSSIE: Especially when you`re talking about guys doing your dirty work for you. Having those guys there, having that as part of their job, you know full well what you`re doing going into that bar and setting that situation up. This is not some random accident that happened to Ben Roethlisberger. This is something that has been deliberate, and we`ve seen similar stupid activities from him.
And you put on top of that a smaller town with a police force that might be enamored of the individual, that`s just a complete recipe for disaster in that situation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How big a star is Ben Roethlisberger when he goes out? Because I do believe he might actually need bodyguards, but not to delete photos of him drinking, just to protect him from rowdy fans -- Lisa.
DEOSSIE: There`s probably some rowdy fans out there. But you`re in a college bar. You`re in a smaller town. You`re not in a situation where you`re in let`s say Cleveland, with a bunch of Cleveland Browns fans who might want to get crazy with you.
You`re in Georgia. It`s not a situation where you might necessarily need bodyguards to protect you physically. But we see according to some of these reports what they`re there for. They`re there to protect him but not necessarily from physical problems.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Kids --
GUERRERO: They`re there to cover up for him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do not follow this guy`s example, young sports fans. You`re watching issues on HLN.